NDN Blog

More and More Data on the unusually civic-minded Millennial Generation

A big USA Today story lays out more data that show that the young Millennial Generation is unusually civic-minded and socially conscious. They also are embracing issues that tend to be considered progressive:

A graphic shows the top 10 causes on their minds: education, poverty, environment, health, drug and alcohol prevention, human rights, equal rights, disaster relief, AIDS, and hunger.

No sign of bans on gay marriage.

The newspaper piece is also part of a big effort at PBS to build a better understanding of what they call Generation Next, which is what we call the Millennial Generation. The Online NewsHour has put up a bunch of material that fills in context for understanding this group, including a timeline for their lifetimes, which includes the march of technology. It’s a nice reminder of how much tech and media change has come within their lifetimes.

The New Politics Institute has been promoting a deeper understanding of this important constituency for the past year. You can see a fun 5 minute viral video we created that gives the top-line analysis of why these young people are so politically important.

Peter Leyden

The Economic Debate: Bring It On

Be sure to check out this e-mail that Simon just sent out.


Today’s Financial Times writes that “President George W. Bush sought on Monday to change the subject from the deteriorating situation in Iraq by focusing on the strength of the US economy.” The President spoke to the media and gave a prediction about the November elections: “We're not going to lose anybody, and the reason why is the economy's strong.”

So President Bush and the Republicans want a debate on the economy. We say - Bring it on.

In the Bush era, our government has spent more than it takes in and has borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign governments to fund its basic operations. The latest round of global trade talks have collapsed, the trade deficit has soared and the dollar has declined.

Meanwhile ordinary Americans have struggled to make ends meet, as jobs have been created at a far slower rate than in recent history, wages have stagnated, and median family incomes have fallen. The number of Americans without health insurance and those in poverty have risen, and the costs of college, health care and interest have climbed.

Bush's plan for economic success has not delivered on its promises. And the American people know it. Today’s Washington Post poll shows that 74% of Americans say their families are either treading water or falling behind under President Bush, even though the majority of respondents think the economy is in good shape.

Contrast this disappointing record with the record of progressives in the 1990s, a period that saw the longest sustained economic boom in American history. And unlike today, the economic expansion of the 1990s lifted all boats. Led by President Clinton, the budget deficit was turned into surplus, job growth was strong, the minimum wage was increased, taxes were cut for millions of American families, and wages grew in step with productivity.

And while the real median household income of American families declined by $1,669 in the first Bush term, the broad prosperity achieved in the Clinton years led to a median household incomes increase of $7,858. During the 1990s progressives delivered broadly shared economic prosperity, and we can do it again.

NDN recently released three reports that lay out a strong argument for new, progressive economic leadership.

  1. Our major report on “The Bush Economic Record” presents a comprehensive comparison of the economy under President Bush and President Clinton.
  2. Our memo on “The Emerging Progressive Economic Consensus on Wages” shows how declining wages and stagnant incomes explain Americans’ gloomy economic outlook.
  3. And our recent memo “Challenging the Republican Economic Record” lays out why Democrats must engage in the economic debate in the coming weeks, and how we can win.

These reports show that conservative policies have failed to meet the challenges of our time and have left too many Americans struggling to get ahead.

If President Bush wants to debate the economy, we at NDN, and all progressives, are very ready for the fight.


Simon Rosenberg



Declaración del Centro de Estrategia Hispana sobre nuevo anuncio Republicano racista e anti-Hispano

NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center sends regular updates to Spanish language media outlets about the issues and campaigns that impact their communities.  The releases are reprinted in their entirety on our blog for our Spanish speaking readers, and you can read the latest below.

Declaración del Centro de Estrategia Hispana sobre un nuevo anuncio de televisión de parte del republicano Tom Kean quien esta compitiendo para senador en el estado de Nueva Jersey

Nuevamente vemos como los republicanos continúan atacando y difamando la imagen de la comunidad Latina en este país.  Ahora deciden justificar que los Latinos rompen la ley al exigir beneficios sobre el seguro social para sus retiros.  Esto es un atropello para los miles de inmigrantes Hispanos en los Estados Unidos ya que estos contribuyen diariamente a nuestra economía y pagan fielmente sus contribuciones. (Para ver anuncio haga un click aquí www.tomkean.com).Los republicanos en vez de crear propagandas de manera groseras y falsas deberían comprometerse con la comunidad Latina  y resolver el problema de inmigración de una manera justa, integra y verdadera como lo han tratado de hacer los demócratas.

Viral Video Alert: Stay the Course?

Following up on James' excellent post from earlier this morning, here's a video ridiculing the President's line on This Week with George Stephanopoulos that "it’s never been stay the course."  What is amazing to me about this about-face isn't that the administration is abandoning the phrase, before James Baker and company advocate abandoning the policy, but that they expect Americans to pretend they haven't been spouting this for the last few years.  Maybe that is the Bush legacy: complete duplicity in Presidential communication and leave it to Tony Snow to try and parse the mess.

New NPI Website marks Final Push on Fall "New Tools" Campaign

The New Politics Institute is making one final push to help progressives maximize their impact this fall through the use of four new tools – and we need your help to spread the word.

We are proud to announce that our newly relaunched website now has a complete set of materials from our “new tools” campaign.

Together our memos, videos and reports give a complete overview of four ways progressives can make a difference this fall: Buy Cable, Engage the Blogs, Use Search, and Speak in Spanish. Check out the Tools Campaign, as part of our completely revamped website.

The new NPI website is now the center of our campaign, and will be a vital resource in the weeks and months ahead. It’s built on a Web 2.0 foundation that gives NPI new capabilities and lets us tell our story in new ways. You can check it out at http://www.newpolitics.net.

The site is full of video including original interviews with our fellows. Especially notable is Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos giving his overview of the political impact of blogging. We also have an edited viral video that introduces the Millennial Generation that is poised to change politics.

Make sure to check out our video of a talk and multimedia slide show that gives an overview of the opportunity for a new politics in the decade ahead. We also have a whole section of written material that explains the context for this transformation.

And you can find more about the network we have built up since we started in May 2005, and the backgrounds of our fellows, who span the gamut from Joe Trippi to Jen Nix.

Please spread the word (and the links) to this rich resource for progressive organizations and candidates. It could make a difference this fall.

Two Plausible Ways Forward on Iraq

There are two must read pieces on Iraq in today's papers. The New York Times gives its entire editorial over to "Trying to Contain the Iraq Disaster." It offers a sensible series of steps to change the nation's strategy, involving reaching out to regional powers and beginning a new political a settlement likely based on confederation. The second piece is from Sen. Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb. Its subscription only in the WSJ, so here is long quote: 

Because the current course in Iraq is a losing course, we have to prepare ourselves to make the toughest decisions since the end of the Cold War....The only way to carve out a new path is through bipartisanship.... Political leaders in our country must choose to hang together rather than hang separately. They have every incentive to do so. It is flatly against the security interests of the U.S. to stay the current course. It is also against the political interests of both parties. Republicans don't want to run for the presidency in 2008 with Iraq around their necks. Democrats do not want to assume the presidency in 2009 saddled with a losing war.

Serious members of both parties are prepared to seek a solution. First, there can be no military success in Iraq without a political settlement -- a power-sharing arrangement that gives its major groups incentives to pursue their interests peacefully instead of falling into a cycle of sectarian revenge. What could work is a federalized Iraq, with three or more largely autonomous regional governments to suit the separate interests of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. A central government would administer common concerns, such as defending Iraq's borders and managing its energy infrastructure.

Second, we must have a plan prepared by our military for the redeployment and withdrawal of most U.S. troops over the next 18 months...... Third, we have to ignite the most vigorous regional diplomacy to back up the power-sharing deal among Iraqis and avoid neighbors warring over an Iraqi vacuum...... The Baker-Hamilton commission has a unique opportunity to generate a bipartisan way forward in Iraq. If it comes up with a better plan than the one we propose, we will embrace it. But whatever it does, it cannot kick the can down the road. It must come up with a strategy that allows us to leave Iraq without leaving chaos behind -- which is not being done in Washington now.

Both pieces are worth reading in full - and both are a serious contribution to the debate in both parties about what could possibly be done to save some semblance of order from the daily unfolding chaos in the middle east. 

GOP stumbling with minorities

Peter Wallsten of the LA Times has a very interesting piece today about the Rovian-led efforts to reposition the GOP with African-Americans and Latinos in unraveling. 

The numbers in the Latino Coalition poll are consistent with our NDN political fund poll this summer. and other polls, that show a dramatic degradation of the Republican brand with Latinos across the country. 

NDN and our affiliate continue to be the most aggressive of all progressive groups in speaking to Latinos, as we end the year with two media campaigns, one promoting the minimum wage in AZ and CO, and the other our wonderful campaign connecting Democratic values to the iconic sport of soccer, "mas que un partido."

"Stay the Course" out - "A Study in Constant Motion" in

As reported everywhere today, this astounding u-turn from yesterday's press briefing:

Q Is there a change in the administration "stay the course" policy? Bartlett this morning said that wasn't ever the policy.

MR. SNOW: No, the policy -- because the idea of "stay the course" is you've done one thing, you kick back and wait for it. And this has always been a dynamic policy that is aimed at moving forward at all times on a number of fronts. And that would include the international diplomatic front. After all, the Iraq compact is something we worked out with the Iraqis before visiting the Prime Minister in Baghdad earlier this year.

So what you have is not "stay the course," but, in fact, a study in constant motion by the administration and by the Iraqi government, and, frankly, also by the enemy, because there are constant shifts, and you constantly have to adjust to what the other side is doing.

Quite remarkable. Does anyone have the faintest idea what "a study in constant motion" might mean? Google is suggestive, providing links to the phrase including an obscure Michelangelo Antonioni movie, a description of a soccer game, and an advert for a rental home in North Carolina's out banks. It seems more like the description one might find of an impressionist painting, rather than a strategy for military. But given reported blow-ups between Rice and Rumsfeld over the "clear, hold and build" strategy, perhaps the administration has decided that the best strategy is simply one which no one can understand, and thus no one can disagree with?


UPDATE - i enlarged this post for a piece for The Guardian, which you can read here.  

Schwarzenegger showing the "best of the best" in political communications

The San Francisco Chronicle had a nice story this weekend on how Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was blending top Hollywood talent with top national political talent to create what the  state Republican Chair called "the next generation of communication in politics." There is some truth to what he says, though what Schwarzenegger's team is doing is not rocket science. And other Democratic candidates also are pushing the front lines of what can be done with new media and new communications strategies.

Schwarzenegger's performance is  particularly striking when contrasted to the campaign performance of his Democratic challenger, Phil Angelides, who has not adopted many new practices. In fact, state Controller Steve Westly, who challenged Phil in the brutal primary, used many of the new techniques too.

The use of new tools and new media and communications practices is something that the New Politics Institute is closely tracking. Neither party has a monopoly on innovation at this point and it pays to watch what is happening on both sides.

Peter Leyden

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